99 Problems
with pagan parallels (pt 3)

John Zande: My goodness, Oldschool, I’ll give you credit for producing a wall of text utterly unrelated to the subject at hand. So, you are trying to say Jesus is God. Despite many verses which say the complete opposite, I really couldn’t care less. Jesus claiming to be god or not is not the matter. There have been many “sons of god,” and as I have already shown you, the concept of a multi-godhead is anything but new.

 

To repeat, food rituals are anything but new. The atonement of sin through sacrifice/food rituals is not new. A heavenly gatekeeper is not new. A person/god returning to life/earth is not new.

 

Regarding Baal, did you read the linked article? I’m guessing, no. You should. But once again, we are not prosecuting every detail of every storyline, rather the plot in general: dying/rising gods. That plot is far, far, far from being original.

 

It seems you are having serious trouble grasping this. Case in point, you say: "How many sages claimed to be the God of Israel?" What has that got to do with anything? Olódùmarè is the God of the Yoruba people. Regarding the Trinity, it is not new, although the trinity is never even mentioned in the bible. You are aware of this, aren’t you?

 

Here is the trinity in Buddhism. The Trikaya doctrine says that a Buddha has three kayas or bodies:

 

1. The Dharmakaya or Truth body which embodies the very principle of enlightenment and knows no limits or boundaries;

 

2. The Sambhogakaya or body of mutual enjoyment which is a body of bliss or clear light manifestation;

 

3. The Nirma?akaya or created body which manifests in time and space.

 

Three-in-one.

 

Here is the Trinity fully expressed in Zoroastrian: Ahura Mazda (the Father), Spenta Mainyu or Vohu Mana (the Holy Spirit), and Asha Vahista (the Logos, or Son): "Praise to thee, Ahura Mazda, threefold before other creations."

 

Three-in-one. Not new or original. Listen, let’s bring this back to the real. You are getting yourself all confused and hopelessly muddled. I’ll give you an example.

 

Q: Was the Jesus talking about the so-named Golden Rule new or original?

 

No. Far from it. The concept dates back to the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BCE) “Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you.” It also emerged in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1780 BCE), as well as in the Mahabharata (8th Century BCE) “The knowing person is minded to treat all beings as himself,” in Homer’s Odyssey (6th century BCE), “I will be as careful for you as I will be for myself in the same need,” 6th century BCE Taoism, “Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss,” in 5th century BCE Confucianism, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself,” in 4th century BCE Mohism, “For one would do for others as one would do for oneself,” and was articulated by the Greek, Pittacus (640–568 BCE), who said: “Do not do to your neighbour what you would take ill from him.”

 

Another example. Q: Was Jesus’ teaching about turning the other cheek or loving your enemy new or original? No. Lao Tzu, said it this way: I treat those who are good with goodness. And I also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained Zhuangzi said it this way: Do good to him who has done you an injury. Rishabha said it this way: My Lord! Others have fallen back in showing compassion to their benefactors as you have shown compassion even to your malefactors. All this is unparalleled.

 

Mahavira said it this way: Man should subvert anger by forgiveness, subdue pride by modesty, overcome hypocrisy with simplicity, and greed by contentment.

 

In Hinduism it’s said this way: A superior being does not render evil for evil; this is a maxim one should observe; the ornament of virtuous persons is their conduct. One should never harm the wicked or the good or even criminals meriting death. A noble soul will ever exercise compassion even towards those who enjoy injuring others or those of cruel deeds when they are actually committing them–for who is without fault?

 

And Siddhartha Gautama said it this way: Conquer anger by love. Conquer evil by good. Conquer the stingy by giving. Conquer the liar by truth.

 

You see what we’re actually dealing with here. Things “said” or “done.” Please get that straight in your head. And once again, there is no trick. Things “said” or “done.”

 

OSC: “Regarding the Trinity, it is not new, although the trinity is never even mentioned in the bible. You are aware of this, aren’t you?” What you mean to write is “The word Trinity is never mentioned in the Bible”, nor need it be, in fact, the word Monotheism isn’t to be found within the Bible either, yet, would anybody claim the Bible doesn’t teach monotheism? Think these things through before posting, time permitting.

 

Moreover, try reading Matthew 3:14-17, as the Trinity is explicitly taught: Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

 

The Word made flesh baptized by John, the Spirit descending from Heaven, and the voice of the Father from Heaven itself. Also, considering the embarrassment of Jesus seemingly being baptized “for the remission of sin” this goes to show the event an actual historic one, rather than later tampering.

 

Anyhow, even the Trinity being explicitly named in the New Testament wouldn’t be able to save it from your amazing criticisms, as there are just too many trinities which harm the Trinity’s originality, consider 3 Men and a Little Lady (the mighty Tom Selleck trinity), the third scary movie in the Scary movie series, and the once popular TV show Two and a Half Men. . .which although isn’t a triad of men, certainly is close enough to work as an argument to convince you. Though considering how I remember Angus Jones (the half man in two and a half) outed himself as a Christian awhile ago, maybe Christians could somehow score a few points by way of him. Accept the challenge, John, you and Allallt against myself and xPrae on the topic “Does Two and a Half Men disprove the Trinity?”

 

“So, you are trying to say Jesus is God. Despite many verses which say the complete opposite, I really couldn’t care less.” Are you certain this time around, John? Are you certain there are verses which say “the complete opposite”, have you read the nearby words this time? Because that’s kinda important. Honestly, you don’t need to write how you couldn’t care less, readers already knew that by the way you seem to tamper with Scriptures, refuse to reference, refuse using words properly, post from books you clearly haven’t read and generally have nothing original to say (oh the irony).

 

In all candour, I like you, John, hopefully any fun I poked at you and your points hasn’t been taken to heart. I want good things for you and your loved ones, that means I want Jesus in your life, so read the things you’re posting, don’t just post things you haven’t properly read, start capping the word Bible (joking [I’m not joking]), open your own copy of the Scriptures, give the material in the Gospel of John real care, don’t harden your heart to the Scriptures or read in an embittered way. Jesus loves you, me, Allallt and xPrae (yes, even xPrae!!!) when genuine love is in short supply.

 

Others added their thoughts too, cat wrote: “John, I’m really impressed you have all these examples seemingly at your fingertips. Just out of curiosity, how do you do it? Is it your field of study and you have it all memorized or written down in an organized fashion? Is there a reference book you use? Or are you really good and fast at searching the net?!” Whereas xPrae added: “John just comes off as desperate, as oldschool toys with him as a cat with a ball of yarn.” How did you feel our exchange went?

 

To really rub salt in the wound however, I want to add a little something of the preparation I’d gone through in my replies to John, as by John’s own messages they’ve had “years” of prep work.

 

Now, in reply, my prep for John took about 30 minutes, maybe less, my sources for reply were the book Miracles, which, as the name hints, isn’t about parallels, but rather miracles, and a single article by J. P. Holding, just as a refresher. That’s everything I needed, and of course a nose for sniffing out non-sequiturs, faulty methodology and out-of-date “scholarship.” In fact, much of John’s work, whether he knows it or not, coming from out of Germany, was what inspired later German anti-Semitism! Man, atheists sure love Hitler (I’m teasing, come on now).

 

Rather then understand Jesus in light of Jewish history, like how we’ve done, German scholars in the early 1900’s made the lasting error of trying to get the Jewishness out of Jesus, which spawned these absurd attempts at inventing pagan similarities. Check out the German “religionsgeschichtliche schule” for more on that. If our three part conversation is what an untrained Christian can do to your points, John, just imagine what Ronald Nash, Edwin Yamauchi or even a Lee Strobel would have done to your originality challenge, you wouldn’t simply have suffered an embarrassing bloody nose, but something far worse.

 

Nevertheless, I've sermonized, lectured, proclaimed Jesus, your God, and whatever next you do with that, that’s entirely your business, I however am not guilty of your blood, I’ve shared nothing untrue. Are you going to continue asking your carefully prepared, highly insincere "questions," counter quotes already in hand, or, are you prepared to step out of your comfort zone, and maybe do something far more interesting.

 

For believers however, I've been studying recently (as should every Christian who's able,) with which I've been reading from some popular level writers, in addition to more scholarly material. Due to which, if there's anyone out there who wants to be so able as I am (or more so) at defending Christ against supposed pagan parallels, Lee Strobel's "The case for the Real Jesus" might be just what you need. Part of their "the case" books, Lee upon pages 186 and 187 explained Ronald Nash's view on pagan parallels in seven succinct (highly relevant) arguments. Read carefully and see how many of the erroneous forms of argument you can pick up on in John’s replies:

 

"First, "copycat" proponents often illogically assume that just because two things exist side by side, one of them must have caused the other.

 

Second, many alleged similarities are exaggerated or fabricated. Writers frequently use language borrowed from Christianity to describe pagan rituals, then marvel at the "parallels" they've discovered.

 

Thirdly, the chronology is wrong. Writers cite beliefs and practices that post-date the first century in an attempt to argue that they influenced the first-century formation of Christianity. Just because a cult had a belief or practice in the third or forth century AD doesn’t mean it had the same belief or practice in the first century.

 

Fourth, Paul would never have consciously borrowed from pagan religions; in fact, he warned against this very thing.

 

Fifth, early Christianity was exclusivistic; any hint of syncretism in the New Testament would have caused immediate controversy.

 

Sixth, unlike the mystery religions, Christianity is grounded in actual historical events.

 

And seventh, what few parallels remain could reflect a Christian influence on pagan beliefs and practices. Pagan attempts to counter the growing influence of Christianity by imitating it are clearly apparent."

 

One thing was for sure. "The tide of scholarly opinion has turned dramatically against attempts to make early Christianity dependent on the so-called dying and rising gods of Hellenistic paganism," said Nash. Two millennia ago, the apostle Peter was equally unambiguous: The accounts about Jesus in the pages of the New Testament weren't distilled from fanciful stories about mythological deities. Peter wasn't reporting rumours or speculation, and he certainly wasn't trusting his future to the likes of Zeus and Osiris. He was only interested in the real Jesus.

 

"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," he declared, "but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty."

 

Thank you, John. I'm very grateful for the time you spent in conversation with me, and I'm pleased you've been such an encouragement to believers who have read your attempted use of the "copycat" hypothesis. Our conversation went as I had expected that it would, for which, we have brought God glory, and maybe even saved someone from the jaws of death. I'd like to recommend that you and others read Lee's book on the real Jesus, in the meantime, for the good of everybody, stay off of dodgy internet websites "exposing" Christianity, they’re nothin' but hype. Until you start doing so, years of study won’t mean a thing, the fool will continue to confound the wise.

 

― Tyrone Cormack